Waking up every day to Trump and his GOP enablers has become the psychological (emphasis on “psycho”) and moral equivalent to living on the ground floor of a two-story outhouse. Every day I feel as if I have to shovel my way out from under a relentless discharge of lies, racist rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan vitriol as Trumpeteers continually sodomize what’s left of our democracy. It wears me down, leaving me demoralized, depressed and exhausted.
Reeling most recently from the GOP’s ludicrous proclamations that they alone are the great all-white hope of health care (the only pre-existing condition they support is Trump), that our recent Kavanaugh-scopy was a hoax perpetrated by Democrats, and Trump’s promise to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship, it occurred to me that “exhausting” is what it’s designed to be. The relentless diarrhetic flaunting of norms, morals, facts, truth, and reason is designed to distract and exhaust us to the point of submission. The hope is that we implode under the weight of the maelstrom of the administration’s crimes, weakly sputtering a few final tweets and Facebook rants like death rattles.
The specter of this epiphany rose like the ghost of Christmas yet to come as I walked past an acquaintance at the gym the other morning. He was holding court with a small group of millennial men in the locker room. As I walked by, he capped off his monologue with these two sentences. “I don’t talk politics anymore. There’s nothing you can do.”
After a stunned pause, I shouted, “VOTE!” with the intensity and urgency of someone shouting “GET DOWN!” during a shootout.
The impact of my comment was oddly amplified, no doubt, by the fact I was naked, having just gotten out of the shower. But the thought that the administration’s venom was numbing the minds and wills of reasonable people chilled me to the extent I was willing to act first and put on pants later.
I continued my au naturel sermon insisting that he vote and if given the opportunity, kick anyone’s lethargic ass who had grown too weary to fight. I rambled a bit at that point referencing Dr. King, Mandela, those who fought Nazi’s in WWII, and all the sacrifices they had to endure for the sake of our Democracy. I may even have brought up Redcoats and the whole “give me liberty or give me death” thing. I emphasized that by contrast, we barely have to get out of bed.
Register. Drive to a polling place. Mark a few boxes. That’s it. Even for a generation perpetually glued to screens and remotes, that’s not a big ask. Confident I had won them over, I reached into my locker and grabbed my pants before continuing my rant. When I turned back, everyone had gone. They must have been late for work or were perhaps rushing out to get their absentee ballots.
It is exhausting, no doubt. But not as exhausting as spending 27 years in a South African prison or making your way across 100 yards of sand at Omaha Beach. We are inches from the finish. Draw from the energy and unity of the Women’s March of January 2017 and the passion and pain of the Parkland and other shooting survivors.
Wipe the malaise off the wounded and the clear thinking and drag them to a local polling place. Talk politics. Make a difference. Put on pants, put down the remote, and make America sane again.